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Lecture 6

Week 6 - Information Processing Theories

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York University
PSYC 4010
Scott Adler

Information-Processing Theories Dynamic Systems Approach - Global theories = have all suffered from lack of explanatory power of some aspect of development - Not mutually exclusive, can have multiple properties at the same time o Mechanistic = rule-based regularities in development (perception & cognition)  Ex: language development = there are rules in language  Ex: perception = gestalt theory with a set of rules to explain perception o Organismic = wholeness of developmental order  Piaget: very set developmental order, things happen at a particular sequence o Contextualist = interaction of children and environment  Vygotsky: cognitive development is based on social interactions o Learning = knowledge transfer from world to child  Behaviourist: knowledge comes from the outside world in the form of stimuli/consequences, gets transferred to the child through mechanisms (conditioning, habituation, imitation) o Nativist = innate propensities  Innate aspect of development, we are born with certain capabilities at a particular point of time because it is innately supposed to show up at that time o Constructivist = assembly of internal structures from interaction with world  How the brain or cognitive structures develop in terms of our thinking, comes from interaction with the world  Constructivists tend to be contextualists too  Not mutually exclusive - Mechanistic is not compatible with organismic o Parts vs. whole - Organismic is not compatible with contextual o Whole continuity vs. individual differences o Origins vs. modification of development forms - Epigenetic view = initial state from which all things will eventually branch off is genetically determined o You have simple mechanism for picking up information is genetically determined o Specific characteristics / capacities develop through this recursive matching of what one actually does - Emergent properties o New forms or structures via processes that are intrinsic to the system o New forms show up due to processes that are part of your system (doesn’t come from outside world) o Based on some learning mechanism that is already part of your system o Trial-and-error, some tasks in environment to complete o Based on interaction with the constraints and opportunities of environment  That task provides the constraint (do sth to the task), or provides opportunities  Taking processes or structures, and try to interact them with the constraints in the environ  Can’t succeed the task, you will come up with new strategies to complete these tasks, then you will come up with new forms/structures o It is constantly happening – even as an adult you are forming new emergent properties o Allows it to be individualistic – it is unique to each individual depending on the various tasks in environ o Piaget: through accommodation/assimilation, everyone goes through the same processes - Self-organization o Permits new forms to spontaneously appear and their entrainment on their own  Without instruction from outside or innate programs (not genetically determined)  You have diff processes within your system, and it is only through these processes interacting/merging that is required in order to meet some goal  Due to coordination of parts to produce coherent form of capacity  Adaptive function of new forms reinforces them  Do something and it works, then do it again – the more you do something, the capability becomes strengthened  Get new forms just by self-organizing of the system Emergent and Self-Organizing Schemes (1-4 months) - Walker & Gibson (1983) - Auditory / facial expressions are 2 distinct types of processes, there are no coordination between the 2 - Give task to infant, on screen with 2 faces (with 2 diff mouth opening) with 2 diff sounds o If perceive face and sound as unified, then look at the face that matches the sound more o If cant, then look at the faces equally - 3.5 months old infants can identify - 1-4 months: have 2 separate processes/structures (auditory and visual) - Constraint in environment = match up info - Processes self-organize or merge, to be able to form a coherent percept of their world - New form intermodal form = perceive as 1 unit rather than 2 distinct units Dynamic Systems Approach - Self organization o The increased orderliness allows for more complex forms in service of adaptive functions  Ex: language  Children have 3 words sentences initially, leave out filler words  This creates an order, then put in complexity (add in filler words) o Occurs at phase transitions  Points of instability and conflict  Diff forms of a capacity are in conflict (more complex than have simple forms), system becomes instable because doesn’t know which form to use  Transition period: a jump in
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